When was the last time you found your self behind schedule and it did not irritate you?
In the first part of this series, we examined why mindfulness is important and the first core concept of ‘Living in the Moment’. This blog considers the second core concept of Mindfulness.
Second Core Concept- Acknowledgement and Acceptance (Surrender)
The first essential component of this concept is basically means acknowledging situations in a clear way. Crucially, this should be without allowing your instinctive desire to take over, such as your natural impulse to avoid pain or put any kind of spin on the circumstances (positive or negative).
Just the acknowledging what you are thinking and feeling including any other sensation you are experiencing is the Acceptance segment. It is about seeing the situation without your internal critic judging you or the event. It is about being able to observe neutrally what is happening in the moment and making no judgement – good or bad.
It also does not mean resignation either. Resignation about something normally includes negative feelings such as powerlessness. This leads to thinking statements such as – ‘I ‘m not bothered’.
People often stumble over this concept of acceptance (surrender) for dealing with difficult emotions or situations. It is useful to remind ourselves that negative emotions do exist and accepting they are present in the moment, does not mean that we won’t take action. In fact the first stage is to allow the presence of these emotions or difficult thoughts so that you can then make a choice.
Lets take a meditation example as this technique is practiced in Mindfulness. Perhaps when you sit down to meditate, instead of a clear mind you feel bombarded by thoughts dragging you away again and again from the meditative state.
If you don’t accept the fact that your mind likes thinking, you become more and more frustrated, upset and annoyed with yourself. You want to focus on the meditation but just can’t. Buddha called these ‘arrows’ of pain.
So in the above meditation example:
- ‘First arrow’ – Lots of thoughts entering your mind during meditation.
- ‘Second arrow’– Not accepting that thoughts are bound to come up in meditation. Criticising yourself for having too many thoughts.
- Solution – To acknowledge and accept those thoughts are part and parcel of meditation. You can do this by gently saying to yourself ‘thinking is happening’ or ‘it’s natural to think’ or whatever for you stops you becoming wrapped up in those thoughts.
So the main aspect of acceptance is to come to terms with your current situation.
You need to know and accept where you are before you can begin working out how to get to where you want to be. This includes facts and feelings.
Paradoxically, acceptance is the first step for any radical change. If you don’t acknowledge where you are and what’s currently happening, you can’t move on appropriately from that point.
In a journal or note-book (electronic or paper) record the steps to allow you to take this important move.
- State the facts – For example, the job you wanted was not offered to you or your team member did not behave how you would like them to do so. This part should only be facts about that you can see or hear.
- Write your emotions about the facts – These are your emotions – so no evaluation of good or bad just what they are.
- OR Gently recognise the’ label’ of the experience you aren’t accepting. For example, if you’re not accepting that you’re angry. You can say this in your mind, to yourself, ‘I’m feeling angry at the moment… I’m feeling angry and I am not going to judge this.’ In this way, you begin to acknowledge your feeling(s). It has been reported that denying that you are experiencing a a ‘negative Mindset or emotions’ is risky for your mental health. This is because being unwilling to experience negative thoughts, feelings or sensations is often the first link in a mental chain that can lead to automatic, habitual and critical patterns of mind taking root or becoming re-established. Thus the inner dialogue is not ‘I should be strong’ but ‘Ah fear is here’.
- Notice which part of your body feels tense and record this too. If the sensation becomes overpowering or too painful then breathe into the awareness to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Once you have fully recorded everything then consider how much you accept or acknowledge your current thoughts /feelings/sensation on a scale of 1 to 10. Ask yourself what you need to do to increase your acceptance to, and then do it as best you can.
The next blog will provide the last Core Concept which will provide you with a way to process these, so that you can remain resourceful.
If you would like to know more on how to use mindfulness to manage your stress and build resilience, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone me; 07921540039 for coaching. For Mindfulness coaching I have a special offer of three coaching offers for the price of two.
I am also running 2-hour lunchtime workshops on An Introduction to Mindfulness and Managing Stress in Leeds, Harrogate and Hull – please check out my events page for one near you: http://www.yorkshirecoursesforlawyers.co.uk/events/
YCFL delivers strategic coaching, leadership; management and interpersonal skills training for the legal profession. Since 2003 Ann has trained nearly 7000 lawyers in leadership, management and interpersonal skills. She launched her Business Brilliance Blueprint in 2017 for owners of law firms. Ann has also trained with the Coaching Academy and holds a H.N.L.P. certificate in coaching as well as being an N.L.P. Master Practitioner. She is a member of the Professional Speaking Association and Professional Speaking Academy.